Rwandan Schools’ Orchid Project

Expedition July 2014


A team of 8 pupils and three staff from Writhlington School, England spent nearly two weeks based at the Kitabi College of Conservation and Environmental Management (KCCEM) They worked with staff and students from Kitabi College as well three schools; Byimana School of Sciences, FAWE School Kigali and College Amis des Enfants.


Working with KCCEM

The first few days were filled with setting up KCCEM new orchid propagation laboratory funded by the Writhlington Orchid Project and preparing for workshops by exploring Nyungwe trails and devising activities. SONY DSC

Activities with KCCEM students included preparing standard solutions, laboratory practice and orchid field science and identification.

The sessions culminated in all KCCEM students sowing orchid seed in- vitro and exploring orchid diversity, ecology and anatomy.

Working with Schools


Orchid Science

Writhlington popils ran workshops on:

  • Diversity with reference to Rwanda
  • Ecology from life cycle to habitat
  • Botanical description and anatomy


Exploring NyungweExpeditions into the forests allowed students to:

  • Observe the science in action
  • Experience Nyungwe in all its diversity
  • Recognise the importance of Nyungwe


Advanced SkillsThe most popular activity was aseptic culture

  • Working in microbe free conditions
  • Surface sterilising seed from Nyungwe orchid species
  • Sowing the seed onto petri dishes

Each group of school pupils spent an evening session at KCCEM learning orchid science and aseptic culture techniques followed by a morning’s trek into Nyungwe with Writhlington pupils and Kitabi staff. For all the pupils this was the first time that they had visited Nyungwe.

Capacity Building

The project has a number of capacity building aims which together provide opportunities for the creative development of appropriate initiatives by Rwandan partners. These include:

  • Setting up propagation laboratory facilities. The first laboratory is now commissioned at KCCEM
  • Developing orchid science. Workshops are a first stage in developing scientific capacity in schools and KCCEM
  • Supporting enterprise. The first laboratory is a first step in facilitating enterprise opportunities and skills development.
  • Community conservation. The workshops have been a first step in supporting the outstanding conservation practice at KCCEM by involving school children and through them their communities.


Evaluation of the expedition has been through questionnaires, interviews, informal monitoring and group feedback. The evaluation process is being co-ordinated by Amy Hinsley of Kent University and a team of pupils and will be used to inform plans for the future delivery of the project.


A number of people and organisations have been crucial to the delivery of this phase of the project including Linda Kalimba first councillor at the Rwanda High Commission, London, Richard Nasasira, Principle KCCEM, Marshall Banamwana, KCCEM. Supporting institutions include the Rwandan Development Board and the Ministry of Education.

We would also like to thank the Diploma students at KCCEM and the pupils and staff of all the Schools involved for their enthusiasm and engagement with the workshops at Kitabi and in Nyungwe.

Nyungwe From seed Blog 2013 Expedition